Cleary frustrated by failure to apply pressure
Press Conference: NRL Round 14

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Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary said his side's failure to apply pressure in the second half was the biggest takeaway from a tough defeat to the Cronulla Sharks.

Leading by eight points at the break with the wind at their backs in the second half, Wests Tigers struggled to control the match and get on the front foot with the home side rallying back in to the contest as a result.

For Cleary, the inability to build pressure with the ball in hand was what frustrated him most.

"We were in control for the first half, but I don't think you could say that about the second," Cleary said.

"We were pretty much anything but in the second half.

"The moments when we did look okay, we'd let the pressure off.

"If we were digging holes, in amongst getting the shovel amongst the dirt, we'd also take a few toes off every now and then. We took too many of our toes off today.

"We brought Valentine Holmes in to the game too easily with some poor kicks, and just a couple of fundamental errors when we were on the front foot just made it too easy for them.

"I thought we absorbed pressure well for the most part like we normally do, but we just can't quite apply pressure. We just apply pressure to ourselves, really, and that's how it felt out there.

"In tough, tight games, you just can't give up chances and the ball like that," he continued.

"We're turning up and doing a lot of things right but if you can't get the little things right and hurt them with pressure more than it hurts us, you're going to end up on the wrong side of the scoreline."

One positive for the side was the debut of Josh Reynolds and Luke Brooks together in the halves for the first time, with Reynolds likely to fill that role over the near future given Benji Marshall's calf injury,

"They'll be better for the run," Cleary said. "Today was their first real go together other than the trials.

"Our end of sets can definitely improve and with Josh and Luke having a bit more time together, it's going to improve. But I'm looking forward to seeing how they go together for the rest of the year.

"What they can together will certainly have a big bearing on how we go against Canberra next week."